One Big Mistake Costing Car Dealerships Millions in Sales (and a simple way to fix it)

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An average car buyer visits 1.4 dealerships before buying — almost 70% less than some 10 years back (down from 4.5 visits). Put differently, the face to face time your sales reps have with buyersis now 3 times more valuable than before. 

To make matters worse, the buyers come in armed with the information they collected on the Internet, and are much less likely to succumb to the old sales tactics. In fact, most have already made up their mind — and if you don’t treat them right, you won’t get another chance to redeem yourself. 

It has never been as important to close the sale during the precious visit consumers make to your dealership. 

And yet, dealerships and the sales reps make mistakes that cost them millions in sales. 

What is the one mistake that is causing lost sales (and is easy to fix)?

In a recent study of a network of car dealerships for a major European car manufacturer, we have discovered a common cause of lost sales — and a simple way to fix it. 

It is the mismatch between the personalities of the salesperson and the buyer. 

We all know the feeling when we go into a retail location — a dealership or any other type for that matter— and already upon the first contact with the salesperson, something just doesn’t feel right. We’re in a hurry but the salesperson seems to be longwinded, we want to talk about features and they are trying to give us an emotional spiel, we were looking forward to an engaging encounter, while they just want to close the transaction.

This kind of mismatch between the needs and desires — the mismatch between the buyer and the salesperson — can lead to substantial losses, particularly in a high-value environment such as car sales. 

The good news is, the same study gave us an insight into how this problem can easily be avoided.

How Can Dealerships Sell More Cars by Asking Three Simple Questions 

Our goal was to develop a simple, practical approach to match the buyer with the right sales representative. 

First, we have established more than 30 possible criteria that determine the decision drivers of the buyer at that moment in the dealership. We then tested these variables with the audience of 1000 buyers. 

Based on this, we identified 6 “buyer personas” that capture the audience in a very pragmatic way. 

But the ultimate achievement is that we have managed to boil the process down to three questions. 

These three simple questions allow us to map each buyer onto one of the 6 personas. 

The car dealerships implementing this strategy typically make these 3 questions a part of the test drive booking form on their website (or train their contact center to ask them). For the unscheduled walk-ins, a friendly staff member with an iPad can greet the buyers as they enter and ask them the questions. 

The questions are very easy and natural to ask. 

Matching them up with the perfect ‘counter-persona’ amongst the sales force is then an easy step.

Implementing this powerful process across your dealerships 

Implementing the “3 questions” approach to increase dealership sales is finally available to you too. 

It is all about following a proven process in three steps: 

  • Step #1: Survey your customers to determine the right personas types among your buyers, and develop and test the 3 questions to quickly determine the persona type
  • Step #2: Test your sales staff and determine what type of persona they are the best fit for 
  • Step #3: Develop a clear and simple storyboard for all salespeople to act upon: how to recognize the persona, what drives them, how to best approach them, etc 

If you would like to know more about the Persona Matching process that can help you sell more car in your dealership network, let’s have a quick exploratory call and I’ll tell you more in details.

Click the button below and book a time that suits you:

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Over the past years, we have helped many automotive companies increase sales, grow their loyal customer base and generate a torrent of warm recommendations. We helped Lexus develop its European customer experience strategy – twice. We assisted Toyota to develop and roll-out an NPS platform in 54 European countries – to help ‘be the Number One in the hearts and minds of People”. Alain added some secret sauce to McLaren. We worked with the Mercedes Global Customer Assistance Centre to improve the experience for both customers and agents. 

This solution is powerful and proven for other automotive industries and I’m sure it will work for you too. 

If you want to learn more about NPS and Voice-of-Customer Programs in B2B – check the ultimate guide, which we have created, based on our 15 years experience and real life examples.